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Know Your Rights
Source: New York Daily News
Subject: Workplace Justice
Type: Media Coverage

Pair of Brooklyn Supermarkets to Pay $1M in Back Wages to 50 Employees

A pair of Brooklyn supermarkets agreed to pay $1.125 million in back wages to more than 50 employees in a settlement** announced Wednesday.

The stiffed employees worked at Associated and Pioneer supermarkets, where they routinely worked for no pay or without any overtime, state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said.

Each worker covered by the agreement will get about $20,000.

"The message is very simple: Workers have rights," said Cuomo, whose office brought the case.

The Associated Supermarket is on Knickerbocker Ave. in Bushwick and the Pioneer Supermarket is on Pennsylvania Ave. in New Lots.

The two owners of the Associated Supermarket pleaded guilty to criminal charges earlier this week.

Each received a one-year suspended sentence and must comply with a deal to surrender monthly payroll records.

The settlement was a boon to thrilled workers who went years without fair pay.

"I am a Christian woman, and I was praying to God for help," said Tomasina Nuñez, 72, who was working a 13-hour shift without pay as a bagger at the Associated Supermarket. "My prayers have been answered."

Nuñez and her husband hope to retire.

Both worked 70-hour weeks at Associated for nothing but customers’ tips, Nuñez recalled.

Much of what little money they made was shipped back to the Dominican Republic, where her mother and three of the couple’s kids live.

**Make the Road New York originally brought the complaint to the New York State Attorney General and has advocated on behalf of the aggrieved workers.